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Truth or Fiction [Paperback]

Jennifer Johnston
1.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

10 Jun 2010

A brilliant story of the secrets we keep.

Desmond Fitzmaurice is a mysterious literary giant of the thirties whom no one has seen for years. Caroline is a London journalist, and hasn't the faintest interest in going to Dublin to interview him. That his life story will feature 'lots of sex and some violence', as the old man claims, seems farcical. She'll stay for a couple of nights, extract what she can and try to make his life sound interesting. But in Desmond's quiet house, his quiet life, Caroline discovers much, much more than she bargained for...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (10 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755330552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755330553
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 664,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Roddy Doyle has called her "the best writer in Ireland" and I'm not going to argue. Any novel by the great Johnston is an event...wisdom, pinpoint observation and elegance...even the surprises are surprising...richly satisfying (Kate Saunders, The Times)

Johnston writes with exquisite precision, yet scenes and characters are brought vividly before our eyes...An Irish masterpiece in the same class as William Trevor - that is, head and shoulders above most writers at work today (Scotsman)

Jennifer Johnston is not just one of Ireland's best living writers, she is one of the best, full stop...A masterpiece (Irish News)

Irresistible (Times Literary Supplement)

[Caroline's] journey into [Desmond's] murky past is beautifully written and builds to a glorious grand finale (Saga Magazine)

Quiveringly tender and perfect and as minutely aware as ever (Sunday Independent)

Book Description

A new masterpiece by one of Ireland's greatest living writers

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Truth or Fiction... Well I Could Never Be Sure 23 Jan 2011
By Simon Savidge Reads TOP 1000 REVIEWER
`Truth or Fiction' is really a novel that looks into just what the difference is between people's own truths and their own fictions. Caroline Wallace is a journalist in her forties who thinks she is fairly happy in her living with her partner Herbert, an author, living in Notting Hill. That is until Herbert proposes, a scene which actually made me laugh out loud, and it brings all the things that have been bubbling under the surface of Catherine's mind to the fore. Around the same time her editor decides to send her to Dublin to meet and interview the rather reclusive ageing author Desmond Fitzmaurice whose works seem to have been forgotten and are deserving of resurgence.

You might think `oh this is obvious Catherine is going to fall for Desmond and that'll be that' which I might possibly have thought was coming only having read Jennifer Johnston before (thanks to Kimbofo who is a Johnston connoisseur and chose `The Illusionist' for the NTTVBG last year) and knowing that she is far to clever for that, and indeed far too deceptive too as you have the feeling something darker is set to come. As we read on Catherine gets more and more entangled in Desmond's life from his current wife, ex-wife and the one that got away, to his relationships with his children and to something in his past he did and cannot quite get over.

This is where I come into some slight conflict with the book however. Whilst I liked the way Desmond was quite quirky, the fact there was more to him than met the eye and the fact that Johnston used him to look at the feelings behind old age and the modern family with divorces and estranged children.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Truth 4 Aug 2012
By planner
This book promised so much but in the end delivered so little. It starts out strongly with the plot and characters developing well as the narrative advances. It provides an interesting exploration of aging and family dynamics and the use of language is beautiful, as one would expect from Johnston. However, the book disintegrates over the last 20 pages, almost as if another writer had taken authorship. Johnston got bored or perhaps ran out of inspiration. The story leads nowhere and the ending is a major anticlimax. A completely pointless novel and the most disappointing of Johnstons work.
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1.0 out of 5 stars boring, miserable novel 28 April 2012
Other reviewers have summed up the book or maybe I should call it a pamphlet at only 152 pages long. I did actually read it which was surprising because I was incredulous that this had ever been published. If there was a 0*, I would have rated it as that. I am glad that it was only a library book and I wouldn't recommend it at all
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